In my opinion, the best Disney World jobs for retirees are: park greeters, front gate operations, tram drivers, boat crew members, monorail conductors, Disney train conductors, ticket booth sales, working in merchandise or gift shops, character attendant, and working at specific rides and attractions.
But what makes a retiree so ideal for these unique jobs? Well, let’s dive into this topic in depth to find out.
Best Disney World Jobs for Retirees
Let’s begin by discussing what a job as a park greeter really entails!
Depending on the park, guests may be looking at quite a walk from their car to the park entrance, especially if they’ve parked at the ticket and transportation center. Tram drivers make it easier for families and those who have trouble walking longer distances to easily get to the park entrance. You’ll be one of the first cast member interactions of the day, as well as one of the last.
Like a park greeter, this is a great opportunity for someone enjoys interacting with people. A perk is that you’ll get to sit a majority of your shift, which is nice especially on those hot summer days.
If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you know you’ll be welcomed by friendly, smiling cast members the moment you step up to the gates. These are the park greeters. In this role you’ll greet and interact with guests, answer questions, assist with ticketing and efficiently moving people through the line. This is a great position for you if you have a friendly and upbeat personality, and a knack for customer service. One of the highlights of this role is that you’re the face of the parks, and you’ll get to meet people from all over the world.
Front Gate Operations
Like the park greeters, you’re one of the first faces people see when they come to the parks. However, your role will consist more of scanning tickets, magic bands, bag checks and helping strollers through. It’s still a personable role, but you won’t be on your feet quite as much.
Boat Crew Member
If I had a dollar for every time my dad boarded a Friendship boat from the Swan & Dolphin and said “when I’m retired I’ll be back to drive this boat” then well…you get the picture. But he had a point – this is a great job for retirees. Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom are all accessible by boat, which means Disney has its fair share of water taxis and ferries to transport guests.
This position is great if you have any kind of boating/transportation experience, but even if you don’t, Disney offers excellent training programs. Keep in mind this position may require standing and working outdoors, but depending on your placement, it could be a wildly fun way to interact with guests and get them excited about their day.
Ok I’ll wrap it up on the transportation positions, but this is an excellent spot for retirees. In this role you’ll assist in loading and unloading guests, making safety announcements, and safely transporting guests from one location to another. This is another position where you’ll need a valid driver’s license, and experience will make you stand out. But because this is technically an “attraction” Disney will train you as a railroad engineer and you’ll be yelling “all aboard!” before you know it.
You may be seeing a trend with these transportation related positions, but they’re some of the most rewarding roles in the parks. Monorail conductors transport guests between parks and resorts. It’s the role my nephews dream of having, and sitting in the front with the conductor when I was their age is a memory I’ll never forget.
In order to drive the monorail, you will need a valid license and Disney favors those with transportation experience. Again, if you don’t have that, don’t give up! Disney will train you for the role if you’re a good fit. A major perk is that you’ll often get to sit in an air conditioned environment.
Ticket Booth Sales
Maybe you have limited mobility, or you’re sensitive to the heat and cold. If you’re eager to learn, have quality customer service skills and you can quickly pick up vacation packages, a ticket sales roll may be ideal for you. The best part is that these rolls are often indoors, air conditioned, and you’ll get to sit a majority of your shift. Be prepared to be patient and answer plenty of questions.
Working in merchandising can be a very rewarding role at Disney, and it can be a great option for retirees. This is perfect if you have any sort of merchandising experience, you’re comfortable handling transactions and you can be on your feet for the majority of your shift. The plus side is that you’ll often be indoors, and depending on the store, your hours will likely be very predictable.
I will add a brief disclaimer that merchandise positions are widely popular roles for interns and college graduates with little experience. Patience will be a lifesaver in this role. Holidays will of course be busy and depending on where you’re placed, things can get a little chaotic. If you’re looking for something a little more subdued and laid back, this may not be the best choice for you.
Ok yes, this role means you’ll spend a lot of time walking and standing, and you’ll likely be outdoors. But this is in my opinion one of the most rewarding roles in the parks, especially if you have your own grandchildren. Playing a character is a difficult job, but this is the next best thing. You’ll spend your days watching excited children meet their favorite characters, and it doesn’t get much better than that!
In this role, you’ll act as the liaison in between the Disney characters and the guests, ensuring they stay on schedule and most importantly, that guests are interacting safely with the characters. You’ll be on your feet during the character’s set, but you’ll also get frequent breaks.
Maybe you want to be part of the experience in the parks, and work on one of Disney’s many attractions. These roles are a bit more demanding, with long hours and a lot of time spent on your feet. You may be outdoors frequently, and exposed to a high volume of guests on a daily basis.
Some attractions require you to learn a spiel, and most will train you to learn opening, closing and training procedures. Yes, these roles are a bit more work, but I worked with retirees who absolutely thrived in these positions. Here are a few of my recommendations.
I may be biased based on my own experience as a Jungle Cruise Skipper, but we had an incredible group of retirees during my time there. If you’re looking for an energetic role where you can laugh with guests all day, this is your spot. This is the perfect fit if you’re high energy, personable, and love to make people laugh.
Keep in mind that this is a busy attraction, and you’ll rotate between a variety of land positions and may spend up to an hour at a time on boats. There are no seated positions in this role. You’ll also have to be prepared for weather, including rain and heat. You’ll need to learn a script, and a lighthearted sense of humor helps! But the experience is truly unique, you’ll get to meet guests from all over the world, and it’s not uncommon for you to be the highlight of someone’s vacation.
You’ll find this popular attraction in the heart of the Animal Kingdom. Driving an adventure vehicle, you’ll take guests on a wildlife safari. You’ll get to experience the park’s wildlife up close and personal with your guests. So long as you are comfortable boarding and driving a larger vehicle, this is such a rewarding role. You will need to learn a spiel similar to the Jungle Cruise, but don’t worry, it’s far more informative and not nearly as packed with corny jokes.
Hall of Presidents
A short walk from Adventureland you’ll find yourself in Liberty Square, and home to the Hall of Presidents. This is an indoor show-style attraction featuring the former presidents of the United States. This role is a great find because it’s indoors and air conditioned, the spiel is simple and easy to learn, and you can remain seated during shows.
Living with the Land
Living with the Land is a slow boat ride located in The Land pavilion in Epcot. This attraction offers guests a peak into Walt Disney horticulturists’ current projects, and how they’re shaping the future of farming. The ride is mild, indoors, and tucked away from large crowds. Rarely is it busy, and it’s a great place to be if you’re passionate about the subject matter.
Getting a Job at Disney World
Like all jobs, if you’re recently retired or are planning on retiring soon, it’s a good idea to brush up your resume. Keep in mind it’s not always possible to land exactly where you want to be when you first apply. Your odds are better if you apply within your specialty or choose roles that align with your experience.
If you’re open to a variety of roles and you’re flexible, consider a position that will get your foot in the door, allow you to train in a variety of roles, and as you grow with the company, you’ll have more opportunities available to you. Consider the type of schedule you’d prefer to have (ticket sales, merchandise, and character meet & greets will have more standard hours than attractions, for example).
So if you’re wondering if age 60 or 70 is too old for a job at Disney World, then answer is no, it’s not–not at all. And when considering the best Disney World jobs for retirees, you should above all else choose a role that will make you happy. It’s true that the happiest cast members make the most magical moments, and families save up for years to visit the Disney parks. It’s one of the most rewarding experiences to play an active role in making those lifelong memories.
This article was written by Jessica and edited by Michael.